Anime Review: Redline

Guess what everybody! This is the 100th post on the blog! I remember when this blog barely ever updated. It feels like only yesterday… (it really wasn’t that long ago).

Now with that silliness out of the way, it’s time to talk about a whole other breed of silliness.

Redline is a movie that most of you have probably never heard of. It originally premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2009 along with Madhouse’s previous film, Summer Wars, but it didn’t actually open in Japan until over a year later in 2010. The Japanese Blu-Ray was just released not too long ago, and it was uploaded to the internet (as things always are) for everyone to enjoy. The film is unfortunately not available in America legally yet, but I will most definitely be supporting this movie the day it is available in America (November 14th of this year, by the way). Redline is the kind of movie that is absolutely insane and just revels in it, if you can’t suspend your disbelief or not really concern yourself with silly things like physics or practicality, you will not like this movie. It will flat out not be the movie for you. It’s the kind of movie that within the first 10 minutes of the film, you are already hooked and forget that you haven’t even seen the opening title yet. It’s the kind of movie where you think that the movie can’t possibly get better, the movie then punches you in the face and defies all expectations. This movie has been described as Hokuto no Tengen Toppa Initial D and my personal description is Wacky Racers combined with F-Zero and Death Race. Both are completely adequate descriptions.

The Redline is an intergalactic race that happens every 5 years, but only the 8 greatest racers in the galaxy are able to compete in said race. The cars go thousands of miles an hour and there are no rules governing what can and cannot be on said cars, so most of the cars have weapons to fire at opponents, hover jets, various sizes of grappling hooks, and those are just some of the “normal” upgrades. “Sweet” JP and his partner, Frisbee, were tied in with race fixing for the mob and JP even took the fall and went to prison for it, but now he’s out and racing again. He obviously hasn’t lost his touch as he is about to qualify for the Redline when Frisbee sets off an explosive on his car and causes him to lose and crash, keeping him from attaining the spot in his gold Trans Am.

When some racers drop out of the big race due to it’s location on Robo World (and the government flat out saying that they will kill anyone who races), JP is thrown back into the world of racing and has to go up against such characters as Lynchman and Johnny Boy (bounty hunting brothers), Boiboi and Bosbos (two oversexualized singers from Planet Supergrass),and Machine Head (a 10 foot tall robot that has a Shih-tzu) and his inevitable love interest, “Cherry Boy Hunter” Sonoshee McLaren.

Also there is a giant Bio Weapon named Funky Boy, giant robots, and magical girls.

I’m not kidding.

This is definitely not a film for the kiddies. Besides the sheer weirdness of the movie in general, there’s quite a lot of blood and violence, copious amounts of cursing, drinking and smoking, and random animated tits.

The film was in production for around 7 years and holy crap does it show. The animation is some of the best I have ever seen out of the animation industry as a whole and is definitely the best animation to come out of Japan since Akira. The animation is fluid and there doesn’t seem to be a single frame of animation re-used in the entire hour and forty minutes of the film. They even go through the trouble of meticulously animating the hair of each character and even animating their clothes bouncing along to the cars racing along the tracks. To top that off, the clothes are extremely detailed, the cars and cockpits are completely different from each other and have all sorts of wacky designs, and there are shadows and highlights on freaking everything. Redline is the kind of movie where nearly everything is shiny, but it works for both the setting and adding to the general insanity. There is even a large number of different species of aliens and numerous different styles of mech designs from relatively serious military mechs to a mech that can be best described as being similar to Aphrodite A from Mazinger Z. The production is so in depth that even background characters aren’t repeated at all throughout the film unless the character is in multiple scenes.

Redline is actually a bit of a sequel to a 4-episode OVA called Trava: Fist Planet, but you do not have to have seen the anime to understand what is going on in the movie. The two main characters from Trava: Fist Planet, Trava and Shinkai, are actually racers in the Redline and the race itself was mentioned in Trava: Fist Planet. Redline and Trava: Fist Planet were both directed by Takeshi Koike, though Trava was co-directed with Katsuhito Iishi (who is a Japanese live action film director, but also designed the characters and was the sound director along with helping to co-write the film with Koike). Redline was Koike’s film directorial debut, but there are some aspects of his filmmaking that are looking like they’re going to be some staples in his style. In his works, the character development is rather subtle (which is a direct contrast to the rest of the works) and it makes people think that there really isn’t much development at all, but it is definitely there.

Musically speaking, Redline is a very eclectic beast. There are some pieces that have some seriously thumping bass that sounds like it would fit perfectly in a club. The government of Robo World get a nice organ piece that makes them seem a whole lot more sinister than they are. The best piece of music is definitely the main theme, it’s hilariously cheesy and really puts you in the mood for the craziness that is yet to come.

Honestly, the only problem I have with the movie is that it ends INCREDIBLY abruptly. The movie really just kind of stops, but if that is the only flaw in a movie, then it is a pretty good sign. The rest of the story flows almost perfectly, has some great action and racing scenes, and is genuinely hilarious. It’s gorgeous to behold and is easily one of the most creative things to come out of the anime industry in years. Unfortunately, the movie tanked in Japan (which is easy to believe when you look at what is very popular with Japanese anime fans), but it is definitely the kind of movie that will do very well in America with the right promotion. I really hope that Redline ends up being the future of animation like the movie poster says.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I love this movie and it’s probably one of my favourite animated movies in existence, great review yo.


  2. Hi it’s me Fiona, I am also visiting this web page daily, this web page is actually good and the users are genuinely sharing nice thoughts.


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